Most people understand the importance of a balanced diet for improved health and well-being, in particular as we get older and put plans for our ageing in place. However, what is also important are several factors to take into consideration to ensure that we are eating the best diet possible, such as how the food is cooked, how far you live from a supermarket and even how much exercise you do.

Cooking style

It's not enough to just increase the amount of fruit and vegetables and other wholesome foods you eat, you should also carefully consider how you prepare the food. Boiling can rid vegetables of those all-important nutrients, whereas steaming or sauteing can help keep those nourishing elements of the food intact. 

An example of this is broccoli, which retains more glucosinolate when steamed rather than boiled or fried, according to a recent Harvard Medical School publication. This is likely to extend to other veggies too, so be sure to choose a healthy way of cooking your food to retain the most of their health-boosting benefits. Raw veg​etables are also great foods to snack on in between meal times to keep energy levels up and hunger at bay.

Lifestyle issues

As we get older, it can be possible to feel more isolated than when we were younger. Whether that's due to the distance between our homes and local amenities, or changes in our health that mean we can't be as active as we once were, these can all have far-reaching impacts on our lives. This can include the food we consume too – if you can't get to the supermarket daily due to distance or other factors, be sure to have longer-shelf life products stocked in your cupboards so your diet doesn't have to be compromised.

In a recent study by Columbia University, researchers found that mobility impairment and street connectivity are two of the biggest factors to people being able to access a positive food environment that contains fresh and healthy produce.

Healthy living 

Eating well is an important part of maintaining our health as we age, but it's also important to keep fit and undertake regular exercise for happier, healthier active living. While the benefits of exercise are apparent at any age, in the senior years fitness programmes can especially enhance our body for the best possible health. 

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the majority of seniors are likely to experience a positive impact of increasing the amount of exercise they do. The AAFP suggests a mixture of aerobic, strength and balance exercises for optimum results.

3 non-food factors to consider when creating a diet for senior living